Morning Musing: Malachi 1:2a

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. (CBS – Read the chapter)

The history of Israel is one of the all-time epic stories of human history. Starting through the families of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, it wound its way through 400 hundred years of captivity in Egypt. Moses led the people to freedom and Joshua to inhabit the land God had sworn to Abraham to give his descendants. From there, things were generally rocky. They were on again, off again with God, but He never wavered in His faithfulness to them. Even when He finally had to call a national “time out” because they had drifted so far afield, He was still faithful to them there, and brought them home again to rebuild what had been lost. You perhaps already knew much of that. So why tell it again? Because of what Malachi says here.

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Morning Musing: Psalm 50:13-14

“Do I eat the flesh of bulls or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High…”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

One of the mistakes the people of Israel were making all the time was thinking that God was like the gods of the various nations around them. They were guilty of a confusion of categories. And, we shouldn’t be so terribly surprised by this. All the gods ever invented by people have been basically the same. Sure there have been differences in detail and form, but they have always been a reflection of the people who made them and people are people. But God is different. Read the rest…

Wealth Has Gravity

This week we kicked off a brand new teaching series called Gravity: Overcoming the Weight of Our Stuff.  For the next few weeks we are going to take a look at the pull that our stuff can have on our lives, including keeping us from drawing as near to God as we would like, and how we can overcome it.  In this first part, we look at just how strong this pull can be.  Thanks for being a part of this conversation.

Wealth Has Gravity

Rich people have it made, don’t they?  I mean, if you’re rich and something breaks, you can just call someone to come fix it.  Better yet, you can just throw the old one out and get a new one.  When you’re rich and a new version of something you have comes out, you can just go and get an upgrade.  When you’re rich, you don’t have to do things like wait in line at a theme park.  You can just pay extra money and walk right to the front.  When you’re rich, you don’t have to worry about transportation.  You can just drive one of the multiple cars you own.  Or, forget that, you can hire someone to drive for you.  Think about that: When you’re rich, you can get someone whose job is to drive people around and have them drive you around wherever you want to go.  And oh, the things you can buy. Read the rest…

Yielding to Relationship

In this final part of our series, Reasons to Believe, we take a turn.  We are still talking about reasons to believe, but this one is different from all the rest.  At the end of the day, a person can listen to solid answers to all of their objections to the life of Christ and still not be willing to make Him their Lord.  The reason for this is that their primary objection is not logical, but relational.  This is last and most important hurdle to overcome.  When someone becomes a follower of Jesus, the most powerful reason they do so is a relationship.  Keep reading for more.

 

Yielding to Relationship

There was once a man who hated Christians.  He hated them.   He hated everything they stood for.  He hated the things they believed.  He hated the impact they were having on his culture.  There was nothing about them he liked.  It was so bad that he dreamed about hurting them.  He thought up ways he could harass them and interrupt their activities and keep them from accomplishing their goals…all within the means of the law of course.  Now, you might be thinking, “Well that guy was dumb.  It doesn’t really do any good to focus that much effort on hating a group of people.  What was his deal with religion anyway?”  But, religion wasn’t his problem.  Christians were.  He had no problems with religion.  In fact, he was a very religious guy.  He just didn’t like Christians.  Furthermore, he was no dummy.  Actually, he was brilliant.  He had gone to the best schools and studied under the best teachers.  He was routinely at the top of his class.  The level of success he had attained for his age was simply astounding.  When peers looked at him they routinely saw big things in his future.  This guy was leadership material.  There were few positions which were going to be off-limits to him.  He merely had to apply himself in the relevant directions.  With his big brain, then, and as committed as he was to the way he saw the world working, he knew all the reasons Christians and their Christianity could and should be rejected.  He could have given you a list with sources.  He had a reason for every argument.  But then, something unexpected happened.  And that something was this: he actually met Jesus.  Not literally met, of course, but he encountered Jesus in a personal, powerful way.  And all his reasons went out the window.  Instead of reasons, he now had a relationship. Read the rest…

Morning Musings: Ezekiel 11:19-20

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them.  I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them.  And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”  (ESV – Read the chapter)

This is one of the great promises of God in the Old Testament.  Apart from Christ, people lack both the will and the ability to pursue a relationship with God.  It’s not just that we want to, but can’t, or even that we are able, but don’t really want it.  We couldn’t do it even if our heart desired it. Read the rest…